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African Photo Magazine Issue #7

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wasn’t an impediment

wasn’t an impediment because they drew strength from their Mekatilili. She met Wanje wa Mwadori Kola; a notable traditional medicine man who became a powerful ally. He helped in organizing a large meeting at Kaya Fungo and together, they administered the deadliest oaths: the mukushekushe among the women and Fisi among the men. The oaths helped them keep sacred creed never to cooperate with the British in any form whatsoever or die. Together, they went to war with their courage and trust in the singular course of freedom. Her exile on 17th October 1913 together with her ally by the colonial oppressors to Mumias in Western Province only functioned as a necessary retreat for Mekatilili. She is said to have escaped and trekked about 1,000km with Mwadori through the dangerous forests, back to Giriama to continue the fight right where she had stopped. This instilled fear in the colonial master thus, she was recaptured but, this instigated the uprising of October 25, 1914. Although the British had the upper hand, they were unable to gain total control and eventually, yielded to the demands of the Giriama people. Many may frown at the insinuation that she is a preserver of life but a close look at the mere fact that she is a carrier of the seed that blooms into a human being is proof enough. The woman is thus to be preserved. In the case of Kenya’s Mekatilili, it is within her bowels that the seed of freedom is birthed and she stopped at nothing to ensure that the freedom of the Giriama people came to be even though she was far away in the Northern parts of Kenya. Five years later, Mekatilili returned again from her second exile. She was indeed a warrior and one would imagine that her outspoken nature in the battle ground would generally define her. But it is almost quite ironic that she enjoyed a very private and quiet life in her home when she wasn’t about the business of freeing her people from the clutches of colonialism or holding leadership positions among the Baraza, Hifudu or Makushekushe. She was womanly in every sense of the word and cared so much for her immediate family, providing basic home needs and dutifully performing wifely responsibilities to her husband Dyeka wa Duka until he died. Although she died in 1924, and was buried in Bungale, in Magarini Constituency, Malindi District, her heart beats on, inspiring many simply because the woman has been built to be the guardian of the flame of life, virtues and values; the active and total expression of her innate worth in its entirety spells preservation of life and core human and societal values. Her life represents the strength of womanhood and inspires African women to RISE above the inequality and discrimination saddled around their necks. Rich Allela(Kenya) - Dapel Kureng(Nigeria) - 38 africanphotomagazine ISSUE 7 NOVEMBER 2017 39


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